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What's it really like to be a fashion model? How did top models get their big breaks? Do I have what it takes to break into this business? If you have ever asked any of these questions, The...
What's it really like to be a fashion model? How did top models get their big breaks? Do I have what it takes to break into this business? If you have ever asked any of these questions, The Modeling Life is the book for you -- and Donna Rubinstein is the woman to answer them.
As the model editor of Seventeen magazine, Rubinstein has helped launch countless careers, including those of such big names as Niki Taylor, Kate Moss, Cameron Diaz, and Liv Tyler. Now, in The Modeling Life: The One (And Only) Book That Gives You the Inside Story of What Business Is Like and How You Can Make It, she goes behind the scenes with today's top models and shows how dreams can come true. Young hopefuls will learn about a model's day-to-day routine, the highs and lows of the career, and how one can achieve a balanced life in an ever-changing industry.
Through interviews with more than 50 models, including Niki Taylor, Beverly Peele, Navia Nguyen, and Jaime Rishar, and anecdotes from her more than ten years in the business, Rubinstein gives practical advice and an insider's glimpse into the world so many young women dream of. She covers every aspect of the modeling industry, including:
"I lecture at modeling conventions, appear on television talk shows, and get inquires from all corners of the globe about modeling," writes Rubinstein. "The most common questions I am asked, over and over again, are 'How can I get into modeling?' 'Do I have what it takes to be a model?' and 'What is it really like to be a fashion model?' For every young person who has asked me those questions, as well as for those who have always wondered, I have written this book."
Donna Rubinstein: Great, thanks for having me.
Donna Rubinstein: The first thing to do is to know if you want to pursue this, because it takes a great deal of dedication and hard work. Modeling is not just about being pretty, it is a business. Have a family member take a snapshot of you and send it to the top modeling agencies in major cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These are the major market areas for modeling.
Donna Rubinstein: I cover this in my book. Make sure you submit your photo (as simple as a family snapshot) to reputable agents. Make sure that the agent does not ask for money up front to represent you. Send your photo and measurements (be sure there's a way for the agent to contact you). There is a directory of agents listed in the back of the book.
Donna Rubinstein: Anything that you see on TV is overdramatized. I worked at a teen magazine, and our objective was to help teenagers across the country, not to worry about the personal lives of the staff. Although I think the show is funny, it is not very realistic.
Donna Rubinstein: I think that the industry is recognizing the diversity of the looks in the country by the choice of models that you see in magazines and advertising. I would like to think that the business has changed for the better, because one of my strong beliefs is that you are a person before a model, and that if everyone would bring their unique personal qualities into the business, it would be a healthier environment.
Donna Rubinstein: Working with girls right when they are starting out, who are so excited about the business and appreciative of every opportunity that they get, and then to see some of these girls going on to bigger careers. For example, my proudest discovery is Niki Taylor, who to me is the same person that I met when she was 14 years old.
Donna Rubinstein: That look was a passing trend, thankfully so. There is a movement to a more healthy look of models today, where girls of all shapes and sizes are working.
Donna Rubinstein: The height standard in modeling has typically been five feet nine or taller. But recently, with the success of girls like Kate Moss and Jaime Rishar, we are seeing girls under five feet nine getting work. But it takes an exceptional face and good management to get these girls accepted by the industry. Girls that are under five feet nine may find work in commercials.
Donna Rubinstein: 1) At the moment that you have a block, let it go. You can't force yourself through it -- let it happen. Work when the inspiration hits you, for example. I would write at one or two in the morning after staring at a blank page for hours. 2) It seemed like a natural extension of the work that I was doing. I was bombarded with questions from parents and girls about how to get into the industry, and I genuinely care about helping people keep a healthy perspective on the industry. The research was fun; the girls I interviewed, I have worked with, so it was fun to compile their stories.
Donna Rubinstein: Thanks for reading the book. Niki is extremely down-to-earth. She is someone that has taken her outer beauty combined with her inner beauty and made a great career.
Donna Rubinstein: My advice for girls starting out in the business is to do it part-time. Stay in school. Agents and clients will work around your schedule. If you have the talent, your career will be much longer if you take it in stride and allow yourself to grow and mature in all areas of your life. Yes, modeling may be only short-lived, which is why it is important to finish your education and keep your other interests as well.
Donna Rubinstein: Thank you, but I am not a model.
Donna Rubinstein: Many of the top models don't go out as much as the public thinks they do. Many of them have to be up early in the morning for work, looking well-rested, but a lot of the models do hang out together.
Donna Rubinstein: Modeling is a lot more than having someone take your picture. A lot of it involves running around to meet clients, getting pictures taken for your portfolio, and meeting more clients. The majority of working models are not working every day for major magazines or advertisers.
Donna Rubinstein: I basically wrote what I know, and I had a professional writer help me. I was free to be creative, and she helped me compile it.
Donna Rubinstein: It is great to see the industry recognizing the diversity of looks, but it is about selling, and much research goes into the racial split of the country and who is buying what products. Advertisers make the decision accordingly. Yes, the book includes girls of all racial backgrounds (who are doing quite well, I am happy to say).
Donna Rubinstein: New York is arguably the modeling capital of the world, so girls are quite fortunate to start their careers there. I address in the book that you can start a modeling career near any of the major market cities, which I listed earlier. Each market typically has a certain look that does well in that market, so for some girls, her look might be better suited to start in Los Angeles.
Donna Rubinstein: Although it is geared toward girls, the same information applies to men. I am happy to say that the demand for males models has been increasing. Maybe that is a good second book.
Donna Rubinstein: This is one of the few industries where women typically make more then men, but with the increased demand for them, it will be interesting to see if their rates increase.
Donna Rubinstein: I think that a girl's beauty comes from inside. So I appreciate people for who they are. Outward beauty can fade but inward beauty never does.
Donna Rubinstein: I knew when I realized that I had a lot of valuable information to give an audience that is desperate for direction.
Donna Rubinstein: There are modeling conventions that bring agents from major markets to smaller cities across the country. A few are listed in the back of the book. The service they provide (for a fee) is to bring the agents to you so you don't have the expense of physically traveling to each major city. As I said before, you can send your photos to any of the major cities.
Donna Rubinstein: It is so hard to choose just one, but I will say that I have learned so much not only about the industry but about myself and how to appreciate everyone as individuals.
Donna Rubinstein: You can send this to: Donna Rubinstein, c/o Perigee Books, The Berkely Publishing Company, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016.